RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
The death last year of this musical great is no less shocking with the passage of time.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "POP LIFE")
PRINCE: (Singing) Pop life, everybody needs a thrill.
MARTIN: Prince's music is known and loved, though the man himself cultivated a sense of mystery. As we near the anniversary of his death by accidental overdose, our co-host David Greene spoke to someone who was once in his close circle.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
Mayte Garcia was just 9 years old when she shared this prediction with her mom.
MAYTE GARCIA: I'm going to marry Prince or Luis Miguel. And she started laughing.
GREENE: Prince or Luis Miguel (laughter). One of the two...
GARCIA: Luis Miguel - one of the two. Those are the two people that I'm going to marry. And she was like, OK.
GREENE: So she did not marry the singer Luis Miguel. She did marry the other guy. This little girl who adored "Purple Rain" and watched an MTV interview with Prince over and over while growing up would end up with Prince.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BABY I'M A STAR")
PRINCE: (Singing) Hey, look me over. Tell me, do you like what you see?
GREENE: Mayte Garcia herself began performing in elementary school. She was trained in ballet and belly dancing, and she performed at parties and banquets. And when she was 16 years old, her mom hatched this plan. She told Mayte to bring a videotape of her performing to a Prince concert. Mom somehow got the family backstage and got the videotape in the hands of one of Prince's male dancers.
GARCIA: I remember her saying, you know, my daughter's a dancer. She just would love to perform for him or have them see her tape 'cause she's been doing this for such a long time. And I'll never forget it, the dancer was like, sure. I'll be right back. And he took it. And about five minutes later, Prince would like to meet you. He saw your tape. I was like, what?
GREENE: Mayte Garcia shares the details of her life with Prince in a new book. It's called "The Most Beautiful." The years she danced on tour with him, they were happy times, though he could be controlling. But there was tragedy as well. There was the death of their baby boy followed by a miscarriage, and the couple ultimately broke up. Mayte Garcia takes us back to that first meeting. He was a rock star, she was a teenager.
Garcia says it was pretty old-fashioned for a couple years.
GARCIA: We were pen pals and old-school pen pals. There was no email back then. And it was truly innocent. There was never a side-eye look or anything. It was true friendship.
GREENE: You have this relationship as artists. And when you started dancing with him, can you tell me about that side of things? Like, how did your dancing almost become married to his music?
GARCIA: For me, dancing, the confidence was beyond a hundred. And I'm not saying arrogant, but I was very, very confident in my belly dance. I knew that I could go into any place and do an amazing show. And that's how he was with music. You know, there was no questioning that he couldn't play blues, jazz, funk, rock. I mean, you name it, he could play it. So to have that energy, that's the one thing that we just blended and meshed so well.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DIAMONDS AND PEARLS")
PRINCE AND THE NEW POWER GENERATION: (Singing) If I gave you diamonds and pearls.
GREENE: Mayte Garcia says they also meshed when it came to other things, like how Prince used to raid her closet.
GARCIA: I remember, I bought this cute little striped outfit. The pants were tight and cute. But he just liked the cut of it 'cause he was a small guy.
GREENE: He was actually shorter than you, right? You're 5'4'' and he's 5'2'' or so...
GARCIA: Five-two, yeah. And he would cut them. And then he'd put shoulder pads on them.
GARCIA: I'm like, what? I can't wear any - so I just - that's why back in the day, all I wore was skirts 'cause he would take all my pants.
GREENE: The quirkiness of that, I mean, I also think about the Foo Foo Master (ph), who would travel along with him. What was that role?
GARCIA: I mean, when you tour as much as him, he always wanted a sense of familiarity. He never stayed in a room without the Foof (ph), ever.
GREENE: And so the Master would recreate, basically, home in Minnesota in a hotel room in Europe or wherever?
GARCIA: Yeah, I mean, not recreate the home, but just recreate the look that he wanted, which was the piano, which was always a requirement in the room. And, you know, cover the lamps with some veils and put some candles on and put the lava lamp. And make sure that the sound system is correct 'cause he always had to have a certain type of music. And it's a little team. It's a little world that he created.
GREENE: I - if it's OK, I want to ask you about the pain in this book. And most especially, the chapter about your son, Amiir, dying just days after he was born. I can't even imagine what it was like to sit down and write about that.
GARCIA: You know, it's something that I had stashed away for a long time and this feeling of loss.
GREENE: And the two of you, you and Prince, seemed to handle the death of your son so differently. And it - what came across to me in the book was that that might have been the beginning of the end of your relationship. Is that fair?
GARCIA: Yeah, yeah. That's what I think. I mean, I know a lot of relationships don't make it after there's a loss so tragically. The first time was really hard. And we hung onto each other. And then the second time was kind of, like, I don't think he could handle it.
GREENE: This was when you had a miscarriage following your first pregnancy?
GARCIA: Yeah. It was really hard.
GREENE: Do you think his drug use, in some way, came out of the pain of Amiir's death and the pain in the miscarriage?
GARCIA: You know, I can't say, you know, for me, I can't confirm drug use because I never saw it. I was put on a pedestal. I mean, of course now thinking back, losing our son was a very strong possible reason. I don't think he ever got over that. I never got over it.
GREENE: I can't imagine anyone getting over that.
GARCIA: You can't get over that.
GREENE: Your daughter, Gia, who you adopted some years ago, and I know - I mean, you write about her just being the light of your life.
GREENE: I know you - sometimes you listen back to Prince's music...
GREENE: ...Sometimes with her. What do you hear? What do you hear shining through?
GARCIA: Love - the love. He was a very important part of my life.
GREENE: Do you play "Comeback" ever? I know that's a song that's so deeply personal to your time with him.
GARCIA: I actually played it during the memorial 'cause I - he wrote it for our son. And it just - when I hear it, it makes me smile and of course makes me break down and cry. I think when you lose someone dear to you, you never say that they're gone. I mean, maybe not in this life they'll come back. But they're going to come back.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "COMEBACK")
PRINCE: (Singing) If you ever lose someone dear to you, never say the words they're gone.
GREENE: Mayte, it has been a real, real pleasure getting to know you. And thanks so much for the time.
GARCIA: Thank you.
GREENE: That was Mayte Garcia. Her memoir is called "The Most Beautiful: My Life With Prince."
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